Wildcard's setting is in constant flux (hence the name), but don't let that intimidate you.

The world's structure is mostly as it is today, and technology hasn't leapt forward so strongly that it's hard to grasp. In fact, you'll be fine pretending it is today for most part, though the world is set 43 years in the future.

We keep an encyclopaedia of current player knowledge, but that's quite in-depth. You don't need to know more than a fraction of that at most - unless there is something specific you're looking for, in which case the encyclopaedia is a good place to start. Wondering about the progress of space exploration? That's where you'd find it. Wondering about the political stances of country X? The encyclopaedia is your drug. You get the point.

Main pointers

The most notable things you should know about the Wildcard universe are these points:

- Internet - at least all parts of it even vaguely entertaining as opposed to purely functional - has become immersive virtual reality.

- Europe has merged into a single country and has become the most important economic and political force along with China.

- A nation called Dark Arcadia sits in the Atlantic ocean as an artificial island, claiming meritocracy, frequently accused of being a dictatorship, loathed by the majority of people for declining to sign human rights treaties. (That means you really shouldn't have your character think otherwise unless you have a very good reason. This is a major source of prejudice in the world of Wildcard. If you sympathise with Dark Arcadia, chances are you're an outcast yourself. A proper outcast, okay? Okay.)

- After Europe and China, Japan, India and the US are the major global players, with India having increased in importance and the other two having dropped.

(The rest of the world is pretty much the same as it is today, unless we decide otherwise at some point.)

Background plot

The background plot of Wildcard is a spin on the classic cyberpunk concept of 'trapped in virtual reality', centred on people who have been digitalised by consent or implied consent (Denizens) - usually after an accident, the progression of a crippling or lethal disease, or simply old age.

A large chunk of the Wildcard roleplay will happen on a single network on the 'net, where people struggle to find a way back to the de-facto omnipotence that their status as once-humans in cyberspace ought to be giving them.

Character creation

In effect, for your character, this means that almost without a doubt, your character is (by some measure) human, but equally almost without a doubt has something called a 'default avatar' - their online representation. You'll want to describe both their default avatar and their human appearance even for trapped characters, since occasionally the network may force characters into human guise.

Exceptions to this duality are characters without internet (you'd just give them an offline appearance), or sentient programs called Puppets (which obviously would have no offline identity).

(If you want some further guidelines, we have a writ about the atmosphere we try to maintain.)